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Become happier through the gratitude diary

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Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

Today I have a very special topic for you. The gratitude diary!

You are probably thinking, what is that supposed to be? Now Richard aka Rich Headroom is completely through the wind. No, far from it! If you have read this blog or listened to my podcast, you will understand why such a "fancy tool" really makes sense and belongs to my sleep routine every night. 

But before that, a little story...

I was in Kenya about a month ago with my brother Gregor to visit an old friend from to Vienna who married to Nairobi and now lives there.  

We flew to him in the Kenyan capital and then went to the coast together. After a few days at the sea we went to Mombasa and by train back to Nairobi. 

But this should not be a travelogue. Except for snorkeling, I have experienced no tourist attractions there. However, I spent a lot of time with locals and had the opportunity to learn more about the habits of life. 

A woman who visited us regularly and had dinner with us gave me a good insight into her life and everyday life in Kenya in long conversations. 

Unfortunately, she lost her husband in a car accident a few years ago and now has to raise her daughter alone. As if that wasn't bad enough, her sister died of cancer and so she also took over the responsibility for her niece. 

She earns the money by selling children's clothes at a market. 

In a conversation, she once said to me, "Life is hard in Kenya!" 

In her tone of voice and in her look I could see the meaning of this sentence. 

For us, it's all so far away that it doesn't have much meaning. It's not really tangible. There are people who have it really hard, no insurance, no pension, no regular income for clothes, food or school materials. We only know something like that from documentaries and the newspaper. 

For me it was an important experience. This experience actually moved something in me. It changed my way of thinking and my feelings. 

Through these experiences, I have only realized how well we are doing in Austria. And to be able to appreciate these privileges more, I thought about keeping a gratitude diary. A small booklet in which I write down every evening the experiences for which I am grateful. I don't want to take the good events in my life for granted anymore, just because they might happen to me every day.

I want to appreciate the little things and not forget that many things cannot be taken for granted. Even if we think so. 

Is there more to it than that?

There are actually studies that show that grateful people feel more joy in life and more vitality. And even sleep better!

Through regular self-reflection and a more conscious lifestyle, we make ourselves more sensitive to our environment - more empathetic to our fellow human beings. We may register our misbehavior towards other people more readily.

In fact, a few minutes of "gratitude work" in the evening can help.

What should I put in there? 

Here are a few examples from my gratitude journal:

  • I am very grateful for this wonderful day with my son Philip
  • I am grateful for the great feedback from Nenad and Corinne on my last podcast
  • I am grateful for the good food that my mother prepared for us. She makes so much effort
  • I am thankful for a fun and strong workout at the gym 
  • I am grateful that today was such a sunny and relaxed day 

We take a lot for granted and often think that we are entitled to these things. Unfortunately, that is not correct. 

Every day is a gift. And the people around us that we take for granted will not always be there. Like our parents. Therefore, we should appreciate it and be grateful for it. 

It seems to me that gratitude makes you happy! Or as psychology professor Barry Neil Kaufman said: "Gratitude is the fastest way to happiness".

You want to feel it for yourself? 

Start looking at life positively, because that's what it is. Don't take everything for granted. Because everything is fleeting, for example, not all people will be there for you forever. Start your own gratitude journal! It's really easy!

Go to a store and buy a small booklet (about 2€).  

After you have gone to bed, reserve a maximum of 5 minutes and write down in this notebook everything for which you are grateful today. No matter how trivial it seems to you, if you feel a sense of gratitude, write it down. 

And then? 

When you have kept your gratitude diary for a few days and go back to bed in the evening, take a feel! Has anything changed? 

Has your ability to fall asleep improved? Less annoying head cinema in the evening in bed? Fewer negative thoughts? Has the relationship with the person next to you changed? 

When you've had your first experience with it, why not send me feedback via 

If you want to recommend this post to someone who prefers listening over reading, you can find it under the same title on all podcast platforms. 

You can also show gratitude by donating to those in need. In this case, for the youngest among us. Take a look at the charity campaign of Aleksandar Rakic 

I wish you all the love 🙂

Your Performance Optimizer
Richard Staudner


Richard Staudner

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